Monsoon Wedding Part III- It’s Janthi Time…

Prior to the “actual” wedding (Swayambar), P and I were hanging out with the bride’s family and watching the bride’s family’s preparations. But S’s family had lots of prep happening back in his home as well. One reason we didn’t get to visit with him during the prep stage was because S’s family is from a city outside of the KTM valley– a four hour hair-pin-turn-winding car trip up and out of the valley and down to the “terai” or the flat plains that border India.

Pujas and Prepping in Chitwan

S's relatives make the wedding garland out of grass

S's family prepare to send S, his father (sitting right of S) and a few family representatives to Kathmandu to bring the new wife home.

The entire family did not accompany S to his wedding in Kathmandu. Only his father, and a few family representatives– an uncle, some aunties, some cousins– were sent with the groom. That meant that his mother didn’t have a chance to attend S’s actual wedding. She had to stay home and prepare the house for the arrival of the new bride. The groom’s procession known as the “janthi” left Chitwan early in the morning.

S is carried through the street (like a king!) to the edge of town to start the procession. From what I understand this "carrying through the streets" isn't a common thing, but I think R and S were inspired by Bollywood movies :)

After S’s already long journey from the stifling hot and sticky terai, P and I met back up with S a few blocks away from R’s house in KTM. The janthi (groom’s procession) congregated under a tent (with snacks and drinks, of course) before heading out in a noisy, chaotic, traffic clogging parade to the bride’s house. I was teased because I kept hopping back and forth between the groom’s side and the bride’s side (someone said, “who are you representing… pick one and stick with it”) but I was having too much fun.

A more traditional marching band that came all the way from Chitwan to KTM for the janthi. These types of bands are not as common in the valley, and so the janthi wound up having two bands-- the more traditional (from Chitwan with the long horns) and then a more modern (from KTM which played Bollywood songs rather than Nepali folk songs)

S's aunty puts a finishing touch (tikka) on S before the janthi set out on it's final leg before arriving on the bride's doorstep!

In the picture above S is wearing the traditional male wedding outfit. The fabric that he is wearing (dhaka fabric) is handwoven and very specific to Nepal. He is also sporting a Nepali topi (hat) that men are suppose to wear for special/formal occasions as well as for official photographs (such as a national id photo). After an aunty applied the finishing touches, S was loaded into the flower draped groom’s car to anchor the janthi procession.

These next few pictures are some of my favorite from the janthi procession. The camera lighting was great…

S's dad assesses the janthi

I happily join the janthi as we crowd out the busy KTM street...

The groom's car

Eventually I jumped in and joined the groom, playing the roll of "sister" as we ride together through the chaos for the last few feet to R's doorstep

The janthi has arrived!

I guess one way to feel like a rock star in Nepal is to be a groom arriving janthi style!

The janthi arrived and was welcomed by the bride’s family and friends. The bride, however, was tucked away inside the house with her grandmother, aunties and cousins. She wasn’t allowed to see the groom until the start of the “actual” wedding– the Swayambar. The date and time of the swayambar is set by an astrologer based on the bride and groom’s star charts. The most auspicious timing for R and S was 2 o’clock in the morning! It is at that time that the groom puts the sindoor on the part in the bride’s hair and the couple is officially considered married.

So after dinner, those who were not willing to wait until the wee hours of the morning for the rest of the ceremony departed for home. P and I were among those who hankered down to wait for 2am to arrive.

R's grandmother keeps her company upstairs until 2am. She's still in a red sari, waiting to change into her more elaborate red wedding sari

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